Home & Away

2005 brought the international breakthrough of Romanian cinema with Cristi Puiu's Death of Mr Lazarescu, 2006 revealed Corneliu Porumboiu's minimalist gem 12:08 East of Bucharest and 2007 saw the triumph of Cristian Mungiu's Palme D'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Now 2008 brings another Cannes winner from Romania: California Dreamin' (Endless), a vibrant cinematic tour de force fromfilm-maker Cristian Nemescu, which was awarded a well-deserved Un Certain Regard Award in Cannes in 2007. Nemescu's hilarious and poignant dramatization of parochialism and intercultural clashes opens this year's Romanian Film Festival, now back for its 5th edition.

The programme has developed around the theme of Home & Away, in praise of Nemescu's fresh vision of clashes between the realities and expectations of 'here' and 'there'. Mobility, longing and belonging provide the connective tissue of Home & Away; and invite a reflection about homelands and border-crossings - both geographical and aesthetic, as California Dreamin' runs counter to the intense grittiness and austerity of recent Romanian cinema.

Home & Away celebrates a Romania which has ceased being a communist island and is now part of the world in the same way that Romanian cinema is part of World Cinema. The program acknowledges the film-makers' increased engagement with the island-mentality, and their gradual move towards addressing issues that go beyond Romania's borders. Finally, Home & Away integrates works from Romanian film-makers living and working outside Romania.

So it is in this spirit of celebrating Romania's home-coming into World Cinema that we invite everybody to enjoy the 5th Romanian Film Festival: Home & Away!